Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura
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The ritualists were amazed to find that the mendicant, coming in contact with a person of lower cast though of high position, showed such ardent love which was not usual. The Supreme Lord thanked His fortune and went on to say that He was cherishing an extraordinary desire to meet him ever since his transcendental serving mood had been spoken to Him by the erudite scholar Sarvabhouma. In response to the mendicant's queries, Ramananda told him that his revered Sarvabhouma has confidence in him and his well-wishing has made him fortunate to have His presence, and shouted "I am an unseeable, untouchable, so quite unworthy of You; but it is the unprecedented mercy of Sarvabhouma that has posed You to extend Your love to an unworthy object like me. I am a slave of my worldly master, whereas You are exhibiting Your lording potency of the fountainhead. You are debarred by the injunctions of the Vedas to see me and to touch me and enjoined to despise me, which You have ignored, as You ar e kindly bent upon extending Your Mercy to me which is not approved by the society of cultured people. But I see, You do not care for these. I am quite worthy of having Your favor as Your wonted generosity found to heave me up and this has caused You to inquire about me and brought You here. I am accompanied by tens of hundreds of brahmanas who are all observed now showing their melted mentality and are found to chant the Name of Hari. A mortal being can never be expected to display such symptoms of Godhead."
Sri Chaitanya, overjoyed by the talk of Ramananda, addressed him as the best of the generous hearted highest class of devotees. "The conversion to mellowness of the hearts of your dependents is due to your devotional activity alone. I Myself, an illusionist and mendicant, am proselytised as a devotee by your touch. Sarvabhouma, knowing full well My adamantine mentality, has entreated you to rectify Me and to soften My Heart."
Ramananda said to Mahaprabhu, seeing Him invited to dine at the house of a brahmana and His strong desire to meet him again in connection with Krishna-topics, "I am not satisfied with Your mere sight but want to be regulated by Your transcendental words! I should require to cleanse my heart by Your divine association for a week or so." Though the two eternal friends had no desire to part with each other still they were compelled to detach themselves with a view to meet again towards the evening.
When they met again in the evening, the dialogue on Krishna-topics went on. The Lord inquired, "Kindly cite the verse that deals with the goal of our activities." Ramananda answered by citing the verse of Vishnu Purana, "Service to Vishnu is rendered by performing the respective duties of an individual. Vishnu is pleased by the actual following of ritualistic duties by a person of his particular status and of his particular condition in the four-fold classification of society. Without sticking to the duties of one's respective occupation and condition, there is no other way to please Vishnu."
In Reply to Ramananda's statement the Lord did not admit his proposition, but told him to make further progress in elucidating the topic more vividly. "The seeming sights of mundane representations are not in conformity with the actual demonstration of things. The ritualistic performances are but exoteric attempts in which the esoteric phase is simply ignored.
Having been discouraged in his voluntary citing of the beginner's direction, Ramananda added that people would be profited by surrendering the fruitive results of their performances to Krishna and that this would serve the purpose of all our actions. He quoted a verse from the Bhagavad Gita which was told to Arjuna by his Preceptor Krishna, "Surrender every thing to Me as to whatever you want to do, whatever you want to eat, whatever you want to offer Me in your ritualistic performances, whatever you are to bestow to others and whatever privations you want to practice."
A man of fruitive actions always tends to work for himself and to monopolize the fruits of his deeds depriving all others for his own personal gain. If these actions are done with a mundane reference, the position of the self is not truly determined as it has reference to the exoteric plane only. The mentality is likely to change its direction if this has reference to a witness.
With regard to this, the Lord said that a simple witness in the shape of Vishnu would not do, as this has a mundane relativity. So the object of offering has also mundane relativity. The offerer has his location in mundane relativity and in mundane perishable temporal activities and cannot possibly claim to serve the eternal all-blissful knowledge Vishnu. The human scope is restricted more to limited ethical considerations, whereas the Conception of the Full need not be restricted in that line; so this is but an exoteric enterprise. He wanted him to elucidate the matter further.
Ramananda again taking up the thread said that the sojourner of Theism should leave off his mundane affinity and this will bring the desired result. He culled a sloka from the eleventh and another from the first canto of the Bhagavatam in order to amend his views to have a higher platform in his discourse: Krishna said, "He has attained the highest level who can sever his connection from worldly virtue and sin as dictated by Me to ameliorate his activity in order to serve Me." Again in the Gita, Krishna said to Arjuna, "I call upon you to rely on Me leaving aside all sorts of virtuous activities, even so you will be relieved from the effects of sin and will not have to repent for doing so."
Persons who engage themselves in endeavors for their own gain, Ramananda classified into three division, viz., (1) enjoyment by not interfering with others will lead one to serve the Personality of Godhead indirectly; (2) surrendering all the fruits of our deeds to the Personality of Godhead; (3)attempting to serve Krishna leaving aside whatever is detrimental or lucrative to us without seeking for any other advantage from any other quarters.
The first has no mention of service but an acknowledgement of the Personality of Godhead. The second has got reference to the service of Godhead along with our deeds and needs, i.e., mixed-up service. And the third is the preference of the service without making any attempt of mixing that with mundane phenomena. In these three the worker or non-worker has direct or indirect reference as recipient. So the reference of the temporal plane is an associated factor, the question of eternity being ignored. But as the Personality of Godhead is not rightly determined, unalloyed karma with esoteric reference has got some propriety.
The Lord now asked him to leave off the exoteric side and urged for a better level of the approaching entity for higher desirability. Ramananda went on to say that devotion should be attended not with a blind eye but with an esoteric reference of knowledge of the unadulterated. In support of his statement he culled a sloka from the eighteenth chapter of the Gita, "When a person is set free from limited entities, he is found to be in an undisturbed mood where no want is felt, neither any passionate desire to aggrandize himself; in that case he sees equality in the phenomenal world and thereby avails the opportunity of higher standard of devotion. This has also a relative position of negation of the internal perishable phenomena along with a comparative situation of disturbance and peace. This has a tincture of devotion mixed up with the esoteric reference of phenomena.
So the Lord was observed to tell him again to go on with pointing out a higher phase, deciding this also to be an outward demonstration of devotion. Along with the direction of the Lord, Ramananda went on to add that devotion which is free from all sorts of esoteric knowledge is considered as a very high form of devotion; and, in establishing such unalloyed devotion, he cited a passage from the fourteenth chapter of the Tenth Skandha of the Bhagavatam: "Empiric knowledge should be thoroughly rejected considering its ephemeral result, and specially as the Whole Truth can never be had by such attempt in our phenomenal scope. We should follow by the three mediums of body, mind and tongue, and audience whatever is passed from the lips of an expert in devotion concerning the transcendental narratives, whatever be our position. The unchallenging mood in exercising our aural receiver permits us to cross over the insurmountable altitude of ignorance by practicing a submissive a ptitude." Of all these five progressive references of the desirability of approaching and serving the Personality of God head the Lord admitted the non-empiric fifth assertion which is free from all sorts of foreign conception mixed up with the activity of animation. The above conversation has been summed up when the Lord spoke about Bhakti to Sri Rupa Goswami at Allahabad. These different stages tend to award dharma, artha, kama and moksha which are not considered covetable of the unalloyed soul who has the innate quality of eternity, knowledge and bliss combined. By undertaking all irregular attempts we are frustrated to have a virtuous and felicitous life as the infant conception of religion has given temperaments to men of religious temper. They were denied to have the full view of unadulterated love to the Absolute as the essential eternal quality of the soul. The wrong conglomeration of our erroneous support with the true function of the unalloyed soul is not preferable in judging the com parative merits of alloyed devotion. People are often dazzled with the light of virtue and morality, when they consider the desirability of their activity in having sensuous enjoyments as altruists by their predilective mood. The consideration of the highest benefit would lead them to hesitate in regard to the adoption of elevating or setting themselves free from the disturbed atmosphere. The fruitive results are but temporal allurements; whereas desertion of the same by dispelling all ignorance due to phenomena was considered to be efficacious in dismissing the temporal manifestations. So the Lord gave His final decision of attaining unalloyed devotion by the method of driving out all passionate mixture of the active workers as well as passive indolent meditators. Determination of self should not be fixed in any of the conception of physical or astral entity, and the object of devotion should not be restricted in any exoteric or esoteric phenomena. The uniting tie between the lover and the loved should in no case be a temporal one, a blind one and an interrupted one. Transcendental love is full manifestation of ecstatic expansion void of all discrepancies and deformities of the mundane phenomena. We will be simply bewitched by following the two temptations of phantasmagoria which will ever deprive us from having a peep into the only function of blissful devotional knowledge. The price offered to us in loving devotion has no comparison with the feeble and dying results of karma and jnanam which, when compared with bhakti, will prove their futility and worthlessness if their respective intensity or magnitude is brought before us. The erroneous determination of our self has gained for us the two degraded attracting tracks which puzzle us in the true selection. So the Lord wanted from the devotee that he should boldly speak out the Truth for the guidance of the true inquirers.